If Elected,Will Donald Trump Walk his Talk

For months the Washington Post has been badgering Donald Trump for an accounting of money donated to organizations supporting our military when he held a televised rally/fund raiser in January.  Trump claimed to have gathered $6,000,000 in pledges that evening.  However, according to the Post, their efforts to track the donations have been resisted by the Trump staff often failing to respond or giving false answers, so yesterday morning Trump held a press conference to challenge the Post’s claims.

Post writer David Fahrenthold looked back at the press conference and wrote : “By Tuesday…..the fundraiser had morphed into an uncomfortable test of Trump’s competence and temperament…..Trump faced prosaic tasks, where celebrity and showmanship were of little help. Could he handle the task of moving money from donors to worthy recipients? And could he handle public questioning about how he did it?”

In other words, could Trump in this relatively small task helping vets who he claims  are a major concern of his, handle it well?   If you look at any of the various articles Fahrenthold has written, the effort seems haphazard, with the major “tell” being that Trump never got around to donating his promised $1,000,000 until May 24 after the Post had raised questions on Twitter, “shamed him into it” as Hillary Clinton was happy to add in a call in to a cable show.

I don’t think the way the donations were handled speaks well of Trump, but watching the press conference yesterday, I don’t think it matters to those who are already solidly in his camp and even those relatively few undecideds nationally.  Actually, for those still in a quandary, I can understand if you think Trump came out on top.

He got across the point that there would not have been these donations without his efforts and he didn’t feel the need to justify his handling of the money to the “lying” press.  And then he did, in a very concrete way that surprised me.

He listed each organization and the money donated, interspersing attacks on the press and reminders of his generosity while simultaneously pointing out that he wasn’t doing this for self-promotion.  Add in frequent assertions that it took time to distribute the money because of the need to vet the possible recipients, and you might get a sense of what a drawn out answer this was.

T0 me, it had just the effect he wanted.   The list of organizations was long ($75k here and $150k there) and my gut reaction was whatever one’s criticisms, he had done a good thing.  So what if the process wasn’t carefully organized and accountable by usual standards of giving.  Since when has Trump gone by usual standards?

While the press seemed eager to pounce, they were feckless.   Much of the time they sat there like naughty school children chastised by Trump for their dishonesty, even worse as being bad people.   Trump made the press look like nitpickers, always finding fault, discouraging caring people like him from undertaking the effort to do what he had just done, raise all that money for a good cause and only given grief in return.

I just sat there thinking:  The master manipulator has won again.

What I don’t understand is how the press missed the opportunity to zero in on a particular oddity of this whole process and that was the fact Trump appears to have been the last person to actually donate money, doing it just last week.  Trump probably realized that looked fishy so he left his donated organization (given a million while most of the others were around $100k) off the list he gave, only mentioning it a little later as a kind of aside.

As such, the question:  “Since you have donated to this organization in the past, they wouldn’t take much vetting, so why did it take so long to chose to donate to them again?” was never asked.  Nor, “Why so much to that one organization as compared to all the others?”

Here is my theory about Trump’s last minute donation.  Trump didn’t get around to donating until really pressed because he believed his donation was simply being the Donald.  It was his idea and his show and the biggest donors were his “friends,”  so just initiating the process was his contribution.  The promise of his own million was just a necessary ploy to entice others.  His big contribution had already been made.

You may doubt a billionaire can be that cheap, but remember everything is a deal to be made with Donald Trump.  I imagine to him contributing the Trump brand was more than his fair share.

There is a certain logic in it all, but I dislike his tendency to defame everyone who questions what he does or says.   If president, I imagine him in endless battles because the criticisms are only going to increase.  I also dislike his manipulating every situation with falsehoods that make him look better than he is.  Doing so as an entertainer I don’t mind.  But I don’t want my president to have those values.

Yes, yes I know all candidates do it, but with Trump the tendency is bigger than with others.  You might even say it is HUGE!

Here is a piece from the Post which gives details on Trump’s donation.


Now the Party of Trump: Political Survivor Season One

Well, it is a done deal.   With the big Trump win in the Indiana primary yesterday, he is now the “presumptive” nominee of a Republican party that is no more.   Sure, on the surface it still has elements of a party, but one so fractured and confused that some are resigning from the party, while even more are just trying to ride the Trump wave and hope for the best.   They work on their rationalizations that allow Trump the square peg to fit into the round hole of conservatism and console themselves with Never Hillary slogans.

Funny, now that Trump has won the first season of Political Survivor, I’m tired of the show.  While his success still fascinates me, I’m tired of the man and his game of pretending to be the anti-politician while actually being the new more clever version of the old breed.  The improvement lying in his ability to lie more effectively than the others.

He’s the best at appearing authentic while also running circles around the other politicians when it comes to misrepresenting the truth to his advantage.  The desire to win this particular game of survivor shapes everything he says and does.   He is great at appearing to speak his mind, but much of what he says is what he thinks we (or many of us at least) want to hear.  He doesn’t speak his mind.  He speaks our minds.

Or he shapes our minds to dismiss his opponents by “branding” them with convincing put downs like “low energy Jeb” and “Lying Ted”. And after they are vanquished, he invariably praises them, basically admitting that it is all just a game of survivor.   For example, when accepting an endorsement from Ben Carson, whom he had earlier labelled as “pathological”  Trump acted as if it were a compliment, his attacks on Carson being signs of respect for the man who was moving up in the polls at the time.

And now the same with Ted Cruz.  Yesterday morning Trump referred to an article in the Miami Herald showing a photo which is purportedly of Ted Cruz’s father with Lee Harvey Oswald.  Of course, Trump acted shocked that this awful realization was not drawing more attention, leaving out that it initially came from the National Enquirer, which has endorsed Trump.  And it is not clear the photo is what it is purported to be.

That touched a hot button with Cruz angered by inferences made about his father.  That prompted a long tirade denouncing Trump for being a pathological liar, among many other dastardly traits.

Once it was clear Trump had won, he ignored that earlier verbal assault and said of Cruz that “while I don’t know if he likes me or doesn’t like me”  (which is hard to believe unless you realize that Trump often says terrible things about an opponent whom he later says he likes) but Ted (not lying Ted) “is one hell of a competitor.  He is a tough smart guy and he has got an amazing future.  I want to congratulate Ted.”  Trump also wished the former lying Ted and his beautiful family the best.

The wonder of Trump is that he can be so false (either in his attacks or in his praise), while managing to escape the criticism of being just one more politician.   My theory is Trump has many fans beyond his base of birthers and no-nothings who view him as appropriating typical political misrepresentations and using that tactic against the old line politicians.  These fans actually appreciate Trump’s cleverness at beating the politicians at their own game, so they don’t mind his playing false as long as it helps him win.  Many probably admire the strategy.

His fans of all stripes believe in him or at least in the possibility of him as he is not beholding to anyone and continues to show himself the winner he has longed claimed to be.  The fundamental factor in Trump’s favor is:  “Voters want fundamental change and aren’t really interested in candidates that look like more of the same,” in the words of political commentator Mark Halperin.

Hillary looks like more of the same and Trump look like something new.   While many other factors will come into play, that would seem to give Trump an initial advantage in Political Survivor: Season Two despite polls that indicate the opposite.

Donald Trump: A Winner Even When he Loses

As if he had a magic wand Donald Trump has shown an amazing ability to twist most issues to fit his narrative that he alone can “Make America Great Again.”  Even when he says something outrageous, maybe especially when he says something outrageous, he manages to reshape it, through the many media follow-ups into something that suits his overall narrative which, of course, is always very complimentary toward himself and disparaging toward his critics.

In essence this narrative revolves around a vision of a fading America governed by the incompetent puppets of special interests …susceptible to be taken advantage by …well, all sorts of countries and people….you fill in the blanks…..a rigged system which can only be reformed by an amazing guy who only wins, wins, wins:  Donald J. Trump.  Of course, there are all sorts of other factors that make this act so effective, but this is a post, not a book.

What Trump is so adept at is taking any situation and translating it into a form of self-promotion (at least in the short term).    Take his recent trouncing in the Colorado delegate race by Ted Cruz which understandably Cruz has crowed about as an example of Trump not being the “winner” he claims to be.  Cruz swept up most of the 30 some delegates from Colorado to the Republican national convention.

That would seem to make Trump a loser there, but in the meta-reality he creates he remains a winner.  He lost only because it is “rigged”system”.   Colorado has an unusual delegate selection process where caucuses are held around the state to elect delegates to a state convention to select delegates to the national convention (something like that).  Whatever its rationale, it doesn’t appear very democratic making it a big fat target for a Trump tirade.  The Donald does not even have to remind us that many Republican party insiders nationally are aiming at stopping Trump from getting the nomination, so it is easy to convey a sense that despite facts to the contrary Trump was somehow robbed of these Colorado delegates.

True the state delegate election rules are odd, but they have been available to all for months and while Trump blames the Republican National Committee for conspiring against him there, the National Committee doesn’t make state rules.  Also, if Trump wants to blame the system what about the part where he has received about 45% of delegates thus far while receiving only about 37% of the popular primary vote.  He does not question that part of the process.

Simply put the Cruz team was well prepared to gather delegates in Colorado and the Trump team was not.

In stating some facts above I was conscious of how irrelevant facts are when it comes to buying Trump’s message or not.  While facts suggest the loss in Colorado stemmed from shortcomings in himself and his campaign,  Trump has managed to focus attention on his theme of being a victim of a rigged system and making his fight seem even more heroic.

While he lost in Colorado in one way, he won in terms of bolstering his narrative.

Ya gotta to hand it to the guy….